POTTER PARK ZOO:
Double and Over Taxation with Under Representation?
The pig in a poke of a zoo millage passed by Ingham County voters last November is now looking more like a sow’s ear with each passing day.
First, Lansing residents are being double taxed for Potter Park and the Zoo via the City’s 1-mill Parks Millage and the .46-mill Ingham County Zoo Millage. This winter Ingham County collected $3.3 million or approximately $1 million more per year to operate than the zoo ever had in its 92-year history. Furthermore, Ingham County is sitting on this pot of gold and collecting interest until the county begins managing the zoo and Potter Park on July 1. Then, after operating for only 6 months, Ingham County will collect an additional $3.3 million-plus, which is another year’s worth of taxes. Diabolical indeed!
Second, admission to the Potter Park Zoo was free before the original Parks Millage was passed in 1990. After the passage of the 1990 Parks Millage, Lansing residents were given a discounted admission rate everyday. Also, they could go to the zoo for free on Tuesdays. With the passage of the Zoo Millage, Ingham County residents may receive a discounted admission rate a minimum of once per week and free admission at least one day per calendar year. This is a classic example of how governments fleece their constituents: the more governments get from taxpayers, the less taxpayers receive.
Third, convicts from the Ingham County jail will be used by the county to maintain the park and zoo instead of UAW seasonal workers.
Finally, comes the "old bait and switch." At its May 8 meeting the Ingham County Board of Commissioners voted to appoint 8 members to the 11-member zoo board. Lansing will name 2 representatives and the Potter Park Zoological Society, comprised of non-Lansing residents and financially dependent upon the county, will be represented by 1 member. However, the lease and operational agreement between Ingham County and the City of Lansing which was approved on April 16 by the City Council stated that the Zoo Board "shall include at least 2 representatives of Ingham County, at least 2 from the City of Lansing, at least 1 from the Zoological Society, and at least 1 ex-officio member from other governmental entities interested in financially supporting the zoo." Lansing residents–still the owners of Potter Park and the Zoo or the lessor–have less representation than Ingham County, the lessee, which just operates and manages the zoo and park. The bottom line is Lansing can be outvoted on any issue. Outrageous!
The American Revolution was spawned by taxation without representation. Surely, Lansing residents should at the very least revolt against this onerous double and over taxation with gross under representation.
Before last November’s election, I warned voters to beware of the pig in a poke of a Zoo Millage.
Responses to the “As I See It… The Opinion Column for you” column entitled “MDOC Fires Corrections Officers”. This story was printed in our May 27, 2007 to June 9, 2007 edition. It was written by Suellen Hozman.
I am a friend of Suellen Hozman’s. I deeply appreciate you placing her honest, clear sharing of the unfortunate story about her son Joshua and his co-workers experience at the prison. I feel it’s necessary for you to know how much you are appreciated for sharing this story to educate readers. Thank you from my heart.
May truth direct necessary changes for all…
Hi Rina Rasper,
My name is Abdallah and I am a friend of Suellen Hozman. She mentioned you in her email as someone who helped her during her son Joshua’s ordeal. And as a friend of hers I just want to thank you for your help and let you know that it meant a lot to many of us.
God Bless you and take care.
Abdallah Ben Hamallah